Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 5 How has the pandemic impacted your work at McDonald's? The pandemic really turned everything upside down. We had to find our way forward in a period of crisis for our brand, our operations and our people. We were basically just fighting fire after fire, with such an immense change in our business operations. Our corporate offices closed, and franchised and corporate-owned restaurants were required to either fully close or be reduced to drive-through or delivery operations only, so in crisis mode we had to deal with franchisees and corporate restaurant teams to navigate these changes, while simultaneously supporting corporate staff through the transition to a remote work environment. In what ways has the legal team adapted to continue supporting the entire organization during the crisis? Everyone had to find a new way to work together collaboratively and efficiently. We have continued to support the business during the crisis management piece and now into the reopening phase as all our restaurants are now fully open. We were very much used to meeting our internal clients face to face. I think we've adapted pretty well. The biggest challenge for the legal team was knowing when to stop working because we were in crisis mode, working from home, so I think people struggle to switch off, particularly with the different time zones Q&A from the east to west coast. Are there any initiatives you are currently working on to enhance efficiencies? Luckily, we had just implemented video conferencing capabilities at the end of last year with the objective of saving costs and enhancing efficiencies. We did not do it with the pandemic in mind. Little did we know that these tools we had just started putting into place like Webex capability and DocuSign would become a daily staple for us to continue running the legal department and maintaining our legal operations within the business. I think we have now settled into having two separate workspaces — one at home and one in the office. I think we will be able to have a balance of remote and office-based work and this will become the new future for the legal team. What goals do you have for your team in the year ahead? Many of our goals for 2020 were put on hold so we are now in the process of reassessing goals for the remainder of the year and 2021. The new goals that are beginning to emerge are still fluid as we're trying to take what we've learned over the past three or four months and continue to refine those goals. We're really in a reflective state now to see what we can do better in terms of efficiency and using existing technology. Reassessing goals amid a crisis Years in the industry: 26 Goal: We still haven't hit the mark yet from a work-life balance standpoint in terms of use of time for our lawyers and support staff who are working from home, so that remains a goal for the rest of 2020. Will Ramjass Director and assistant general counsel McDonald's Canada Fund. The fund aims to promote equal access to legal education and diversity in Canadian law faculties by awarding scholarships on an annual basis to students with physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies in law. The objective is to foster inclusion within the Canadian legal community, to secure its sustainability and long-term success of the organizations and communities that it serves. Dentons launches information hub for GCs Dentons has launched an information hub to help general counsel and in-house legal teams as they navigate the unknown. The New Dynamic shares global insights, articles, webinars, legal toolkits and trackers spanning a wide array of relevant topics applicable to the firm's 76 different countries. The hub includes guidance on how to progress a digital strategy and on how to deal with supply chain resilience issues and environment, social and governance performance opportunities. Dentons developed the information hub with input from more than 60 legal tech and operations specialists and former GCs. In-house counsel should prepare for corporate misconduct: report Corporate misconduct is a growing concern for in-house counsel as businesses are facing economic and workplace upheaval resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. A report published by Torys LLP outlines some of the issues that business leaders may face. "It is more important than ever for leaders to set a strong compliance culture and to set an exemplary tone from the top to make sure that ethics and the value of the business are really enforced in all the decision-making and not to make exceptions," says Lisa Talbot, a partner at Torys and co-author of the report.

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